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India Inc Betting High on 50 Plus CEOs to Revitalize Business

Few months ago they were called the ‘over the hill’ in job market jargon. But today the picture has turned completely upside down. Currently companies are rushing to hire 50 plus CEOs to boost up their sinking ships in these tough economic situations, reports Sagar Malviya & Ratna Bhushan of The Economic times.

Big names like Hindustan Unilever and Cadbury India have hired seasoned CEOs in the past couple of months trusting on their rich experience and maturity to revitalize the sleeping business in a tough macroeconomic environment.

“I see some changes in the mindset of companies. They are not using cliched terms like ‘over the hill’ for 50-plus senior executives, which they used when we presented CVs of prospective candidates,” says Vibhav Dhawan, managing partner at executive search firm Positive Moves Consulting.

Lately, the FMCG giant Hindustan Unilever announced publically that 53-year-old SanjivMehta will succeed Nitin Paranjpe as CEO in October. Similarly, the French commodity giant Louis Dreyfus hired Adhiraj Sarin, 60 as CEO after his retirement from the rival company Bunge India, where he was serving as the MD. The Most Important Reason For The Change

Atul Vohra, managing director at Transearch India said that previously the age obligation for hiring CEOs was 40-45 years, but now it has shifted to 50 years.

“Companies want to fall back on experienced leaders who have seen the economy change over the past three decades so they can navigate during turbulent times,” he says.

The sharp slowdown in the economy is considered as the prime reason behind this trend. Moreover, the unsatisfactory performance of firms especially in manufacturing and mining sectors, India’s economic growth slipped to 4.8 percent in the January-March quarter.

Dhawan of Positive Moves says that the change can be more likely because of the size and complexities of Indian businesses than the slowing economy.

“If you are hunting for a CEO for a billion-dollar company, maturity and experience do carry a premium,” he says.

However, according to experts, the only reverse of having a 50 plus chief executive could be in terms of the energy level and health issues that come up.


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